Zest and Aroma of Fresh Bells and Chilies
Subspecies: Capsicum annuum
Peppers are a summer vegetable. Pepper varieties come in various bright and rich colors and many sweet pepper varieties are becoming more popular.
Many garden peppers, such as cayenne, tabasco, pimiento, paprika and chili are grown for food and for spices.
Peppers are not difficult to grow, but need consistently warm temperatures to thrive. Peppers can be grown in cooler areas, but expect a smaller harvest. Growing peppers can be very fun with all the variety to choose from. Read on for our full guide on how to grow peppers.
Peppers should be planted as transplants as the seeds are slow to germinate in garden soil. When direct seeded they do not germinate evenly, if growing from seed, the seeds should be started inside so that only the healthiest seedlings can be moved to the garden or field. Soil needs to be around 80° – 85°F for adequate germination to occur.
Peppers need higher growing temperatures than tomatoes and are usually ready to transplant approximately two weeks after tomato plants have been successfully transplanted. Do not plant transplants that have flowers or small fruit on them. Pinching off all flowers and small fruit present on the transplants will focus the plants energy on the production of new fruit. Peppers will grow poorly in spells of cold weather.
Peppers can be planted on a raised bed. There should be 12 – 24 inches between pepper plants and 4 feet between rows. Single plants may be grown in 5 gallon buckets for a container garden.
Pepper plants need to be staked once peppers begin to develop.
Peppers produce relatively small plants and are wells suited to container growing. A container that is 12 inches across and up to two feet deep will support two pepper plants. Combine the potting soil with garden compost for nutrients, and water the fairly regularly. Place containers in front of a sunny wall or a brick wall with southern exposure. Look for varieties with compact growth habits if container gardening.
The sweet varieties of peppers, mostly bell peppers, are the most commonly grown and eaten in the United States. They can be eaten raw, stewed, stuffed, and used in salads or in baked dishes. Hot pepper varieties are also becoming more popular in the United States.
Some sweet peppers that do well in the home garden or small field space are Sweet Banana peppers, Apple peppers, and Gypsy peppers.
Some popular hot varieties are: Cayenne, jalapeno and Red chili.
A direct and steady spray of water will displace aphids from the plants. This should be done before the sun is directly overhead so plants will not be scorched.
Vine Borers can be picked off the plants manually and destroyed. It is important to destroy any leftover plant debris if borers are present.
The most popular home preservation method is pickling. Peppers can be chopped or diced, and frozen. They are one of the few vegetables that does not require blanching before freezing. Freeze well without blanching. Pepper will still have some of their crispness after being thawed and can be used raw, stir fried, or used in baked dishes. They may also be diced or sliced and frozen.